America Prior To 9/11 Analysis

Words: 650
Pages: 3

Clouded Vision Clausewitz said “The backbone of surprise is fusing speed with secrecy.” The plots leading to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were neither speedy, nor secret. Over the better part of a decade, Al-Qaeda made clear its anti-American intent, capabilities, and created a highly centralized and bureaucratic organization with regular communications, training camps, and detailed plans to attack the United States. As the attacks unfolded in New York and Washington D.C., no one in the military, intelligence or law enforcement communities who had any experience in foreign intelligence or counter terrorism had any doubts as to the origin of the attack. The question that must be asked then, is how did the United States allow such an attack to occur, and what lessons should America have learned from this event. …show more content…
One of the weaknesses of a democratic society is that conflict is not popular. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, political leaders could argue that military and intelligence resources could be reduced and focused solely on the old Cold War threat. The threat of terrorism could be quietly swept under the rug, without disturbing the peaceful popularity and status quo. When Al-Qaeda bombed US embassies in Africa, the White House and Pentagon responded by lobbing a handful of cruise missiles into a couple of empty tents in the Afghan desert. As Islamist groups trained and organized across the globe, political and military leadership remained complacent, safe in the knowledge that having weathered the Soviet threat, American was untouchable. Uncomfortable intelligence reports were quietly ignored, left to gather dust in the bureaucratic web of Washington